History - the 20th century
1908, the year that the last Balinese kingdoms fell, the Dutch
opened a tourist bureau in Batavia to promote the Dutch East Indies
as a tourist destination. It extended its scope to Bali in 1914.
first tourist to visit Bali was a Dutch Member of Parliament,
Herr H. Van Kol. He is considered a tourist because he was not
on official business. He was in Bali to enjoy himself. He had
just been to Sumatra and Java and arrived in Bali on 4 July 1902.
He visited Klungkung and Karangasem. When he returned to Holland
he wrote Uit Onze Kolonien, which was published in Leiden in 1902.
It has 826 pages, of which 123 are devoted to Bali.
the introduction of a regular weekly KPM steamship from Java to
Bali in 1924, tourism took off - the first tourists were from
the colonial administration. The schedule was that the passengers
disembarked on a Friday morning, made a round trip of the island
by car and left on Sunday. They slept on the ship or in rest houses.
In 1928 the first hotel, the Bali Hotel, was opened in Denpasar.
It is still there, still Government owned, now a three star hotel,
built on the site of the puputan in 1906.
in Europe, the Europeans had gone through the First World War
and were keen to forget the rigours they had to endure. Those
who could afford it started to travel. In those days travel was
a leisurely pursuit; for instance, it took six weeks to go from
America to Bali by ship.
articles and postcards whetted their appetites. Exotic photographs
began to be published - the first was by a German doctor, who
was posted to Bali, Gregor Krause, whose book, Bali 1912, was
published in 1920. This book probably inspired Vicki Baum, the
novelist, to go to Ubud, meet up with Walter Spies and write A
Tale from Bali.
the 1920s a few hundred tourists visited Bali every year and in
the 1930s a few thousand. Miguel Covarrubias, who visited in the
Thirties, was worried about the possible effect of tourism on
Balinese culture. He hadn't seen anything! By 1940 the number
was about 250 a month. The Bali Hotel cost about US$ 7.50 a night
at that time. In 1958 there were about 4,500 tourists.
Second World War, the struggle for Independence and the difficulties
in the early and middle 1960s put tourism on hold. In 1964 there
were 35,915; in 1965 29,367 (a drop of 18.23 per cent.) and in
1966 19,911 (another drop of 32.79 per cent.) In 1968, the figure
was 10,997. Things changed following the settling in of the New
Order regime of President Suharto in 1966. It was pro-West and
coincided with a better world economy.
1993 there were 155,597 foreign visitors to Bali, which soared
to 1.14 million in 1996. By the late 1990s millions poured in
every year. In 1999 281,221 Japanese, 216,711 Australian, 118,131
Taiwanese, 108,328 British, and 75,605 Americans arrived directly
into Bali. The busiest months are July and August. The total for
the year was 2.4 million.
1999 Bali was home to 1,234 hotels with 34,317 rooms and 642 restaurants
with a seating capacity for 51,660. At the end of 2001 Bali had
36,000 hotel rooms. There is now a glut of hotels. Real prices
in the hotels fell 60 per cent. over the decade.
2000 the country received 5.06 million visitors, slightly less
than its target of 5.1 million. The attacks on the World Trade
Centre in New York on 11 September 2001 had a dramatic effect
on tourism. Tourist arrivals in Bali fell 25, 33 and 15 per cent.
in October, November and December 2001 respectively, compared
to the same months in 2000. Altogether, in Bali, there was a 3
per cent. decline on the 2000 figures, which meant that 1.3 million
people visited the island. Arrivals from the United States and
Europe showed the greatest decline, but even the Japanese tourists,
who normally account for 27 per cent. of the market, stayed away.
As regards spending, the Japanese spend most, followed by the British and then the Australians. In 2001 Bali commanded about 8 per cent. of the world tourist market, valued globally at US$ 100 billion a year.
After the Bali bomb on 12 October 2002, the Iraq War, the outbreak of SARS and bird flu, tourist numbers dropped significantly. Arrivals fell to the lowest level in eight years to 4,457,021 in 2003 and foreign exchange earned was only US$4,037 billion, the lowest in the previous 10 years.
most influential visitor was the Russian-born Walter Spies, son
of a German diplomat. Born in 1895, he boarded a ship for Java
at the age of 28 and lived in the Sultan's palace in Jogjakarta
for a year, where he directed a European orchestra. He, too, had
seen Gregor Krause's book, Bali 1912 and visited Bali in 1925.
1927 he was invited by the Ubud royal family to take up residence
in Ubud. His contacts, writings, research and encouragement of
artistic talent have had the greatest enduring influence on Bali.
of all he stayed in the royal palace but then built his own thatched
bamboo house and studio in Campuan on land that he rented from
the royal family. You can still see his home, which is now in
the grounds of the Campuan Hotel. You can even stay there. He
brought his piano with him, a German bicycle and a butterfly net.
He used to catch butterflies, put them in gold leaf boxes and
send them to museums in Europe.
was interested in every aspect of Balinese life and culture. The
rich and famous, as well as musicologists, anthropologists and
novelists, all beat a trail to his door: Charlie Chaplin, Noël
Coward, the ethno-musicologist, Colin McPhee and his anthropologist
wife, Jane Belo, and the novelist, Vicki Baum, to name but a few.
Margaret Mead and her third husband, Gregory Bateson, spent their
honeymoon there, as well as carrying out a lot of pioneering anthropological
research and writing several books and numerous articles. Their
research lasted from 1936 to 1938 with a brief stay in 1939, during
which time they wrote a lot and collected more than 1,200 paintings.
Coward left a tongue-in-cheek poem in the Bali Hotel guest book,
part of which went:
I said this morning to Charlie
There is far too much music in Bali,
And although as a place it's enchanting,
There is also a thought too much dancing.
appears that each Balinese native
From the womb to the tomb is creative,
And although the results are quite clever,
There is too much artistic endeavour!"
most flamboyant of Spies' visitors was the Woolworth's heiress
and film star, Barbara Hutton, who fell madly in love with him.
She dragged him off to Cambodia to look at Angkor Wat. She paid
him money for some paintings and with it he built her a bungalow
and pool next to his, but by the time he'd finished she'd moved
to Persia. The swimming pool is now a lotus pond.
explained a lot to Miguel Covarrubias, the Mexican painter and
ethnologist, who wrote the influential Island of Bali, published
in 1937 and which is still widely read today.
painted. He sold for high prices - one sold for enough to keep
him in Bali for a year. One of his paintings and many reproductions
hang in the Agung Rai Museum of Art in Ubud. He also took photographs
- his photographs appear in a book he co-wrote with American dance
critic, Beryl de Zoete, Dance and Drama in Bali. He advised on
a number of films and choreographed the Kecak dance with Katharane
Mershon, the American dancer-ethnologist, for a German film. Katharane
Mershon lived in Sanur and wrote a book on Balinese life ceremonies.
promoted Bali's image abroad in the Colonial Exposition in Paris
in 1931. It was a great success. The prince of Ubud was the leader
of the first dance troop ever to go to Paris. Many members of
the Ubud royal family went.
Dutch painter, Rudolf Bonnet, who had arrived in 1929, Spies encouraged
local painters to paint everyday life, try perspective and use
modern paints and materials. Bonnet also started off by living
in the palace in Ubud and together they set up an artists' association,
called Pita Maha, in 1931. Lempad and Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati
and his brother from the Ubud royal family were on the committee.
membership, comprising painters, sculptors and silver workers,
was about 125 people. Later it included weavers. The committee
would judge the paintings. Some were kept for exhibitions in Java
and abroad. The first exhibition was in Jogjakarta in Java. Spies,
who was the curator of the Bali Museum in Denpasar, also bought
their paintings for onward sale to tourists. For more details
see the article entitled
final exhibition was on 3 December 1941, just 36 days before the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
and Rolf Neuhaus
also sold to the souvenir shops that were just starting to appear.
Two German businessmen, Hans and Rolf Neuhaus, managed a well-known
shop in Sanur, which opened in 1935. The local artists of Sanur
used to congregate there and were often inspired by the brothers'
aquarium into painting scenes involving fish.
Second World War, however, was looming. The Dutch were becoming
alarmed by Germany and were looking for scapegoats. Spies was
arrested on New Year's Eve, 1938, charged with having sex with
a young boy, convicted and imprisoned. The Balinese were puzzled
and shocked by the arrest and brought his favourite gamelan to
play outside his prison window. The boy's father told the trial
judge, "He's our best friend, and it was an honour for my
son to be in his company. If both are in agreement, why fuss?"
Margaret Mead and other influential people spoke in his defence.
She said, "It's difficult to tell the age of these Balinese
boys." He was released on 1 September 1939.
Hitler invaded Holland in May 1940 all German nationals were rounded
up. Spies, who by that time had taken up a passionate study of
insects and marine life, was the last German left in Bali. He
was deported by ship bound for Ceylon in 1942. The day after it
set sail, the Japanese bombed the ship. It was off Sumatra. The
Dutch crew abandoned the sinking ship and the prisoners, including
Spies, all drowned.
Dutch concluded that their decision to strip away the powers of
the Balinese kings had been a mistake. There were strong stirrings
of nationalism and communism in the 1930s. It was decided that
a return to Balinese royalty would win the favour of the Balinese
and they would then look kindly on the Dutch, although it was
to a form of royalty that never actually existed in pre-colonial
1938, on the Balinese holy day of Galungan, eight Balinese aristocrats
were consecrated as rulers, Zelfbesturders, at the Mother Temple
of Besakih. Above each of them was a Dutch civil servant called
a Controleur, whose task was to guide them on how to move Bali
into the modern age.
royal families learnt Dutch and were encouraged to go school in
Java or Holland. Their job was to facilitate the colonial administration.
At the same time they were to defend customary adat law and be
patrons of the arts, in other words to maintain Bali as a living
museum. It was the official end of direct Dutch rule in Bali.
long the Japanese arrived.
Japanese occupation, 1942 - 1945
troops cycled down Malaya, conquered Singapore, crossed over to
nearby Sumatra, moved east and landed at Sanur on the coast of
Bali on 18 February 1942. The few soldiers of the Dutch colonial
army that were there soon capitulated. Most had fled to Java already.
Two days before on 16 February the Imperial Japanese air force
had bombed the airport. The Japanese were landing on other islands
Dutch surrendered on 9 March 1942. The Battle of Java Sea at the
end of February 1942 ensured the Dutch capitulation. In a little
more than three months Japan was in military control of French
Indochina, the British possessions in Malaya, Singapore and Borneo,
almost all of Indonesia and was occupying Portuguese East Timor.
Thailand was independent but had to agree to Japanese troops travelling
through their territory. Only Burma and the Philippines remained
unbeaten at that time. The Japanese still claim that they were
only liberating Asia from colonialism.
Japanese continued the Dutch method of indirect rule through the
pre-existing power structures and promised the Indonesians independence
and thereby gained some acceptability. Bali did not remain long
under Japanese Army occupation unlike Java and Madura. In May
1942 the Japanese Navy took over. The behaviour of the Navy was
a lot better than the Japanese Army, which was brutal.
introduced two important reforms. First, they created schools
where all ethnic groups could attend. In Bali thousands of Sudra
children received an education, which had been denied under the
Dutch. They abolished school fees. Every morning the Indonesian
national anthem was sung. The idea of a united Indonesia was born.
Second, young soldiers were trained, an unprecedented experience.
There were marches, military drills and saluting the Japanese
flag. The training subsequently helped the Balinese in their fight
for independence from the Dutch. The Japanese language was also
promoted, but so was Malay as the national language,
to the resumption of Dutch rule was strongest in Bali, Java and
certain parts of the Celebes and that may not be coincidental
with Japanese influence.
Revolution, 1945 - 49
and Australian troops accepted the Japanese surrender on 14 August
1945. Three days later the Indonesians proclaimed independence
in Jakarta on 17 August 1945. Sukarno was to be President and
Hatta Vice-President, but the Dutch did not recognize the Republic.
Under the terms of the surrender the Japanese were required to
maintain peace and order in the territories they occupied. Republican
bodies were to exercise civilian authority. At that time Bali
was straining under grinding poverty.
October 1945 the Republic had been recognized by China, the Soviet
Union and the United States. But the Dutch wanted their empire
back and they were able to call upon the British to help them.
British forces invaded Surabaya, the capital of East Java, by
sea, land and air in November 1945. Although the British held
no colonial authority over Indonesia, stemming from the Yalta
conference on 11 February 1945 and the Potsdam Declaration of
26 July 1945, a treaty bound them to the Dutch.
objectives of the treaty were "to re-establish civilian rule,
and return the colony to Dutch administration" and "to
maintain the status quo which existed before the Japanese invasion".
The British forces were brutal. The British Government has since
apologised. It was expressed by Richard Gozney, the British Ambassador
to Indonesia, during a seminar on the Battle of Surabaya in Jakarta
in October 2000.
United Nations discussed the Indonesian issue for the first time
in January 1946.
Over 2,000 Dutch Indies troops landed on Sanur beach on 2 March
1946. The Dutch forces were frequently undisciplined in the early
months and burned villages and gunned down innocent people. They
strafed villages with B-25 and Piper Club aircraft. Stiff military
resistance by Balinese Republican forces lasted until late May
1948, followed by political struggle.
conflict between the Indonesians and the Dutch caused lives. It
was not as clear-cut as Indonesians versus Dutch. Many Indonesians
actually favoured Dutch rule. Roughly 2,000 Balinese had died
in the conflict by late 1949: about 1,300 on the Republican side
and 700 on the Dutch side. Only a handful of Dutch soldiers died.
a third of the Balinese fought on the Dutch side. The eastern
kingdoms of Karangasem, Bangli, Gianyar and Klungkung, where the
ruling palaces remained powerful and had been maintained by the
Dutch, formed the backbone of anti-republicanism, but they had
lost a lot of their influence (with the possible exception of
Klungkung), merely because they had been propped up by the Dutch.
Republican support came from the weak ruling families of Buleleng,
Badung, Tabanan and for a time Jembrana.
Republicans were themselves split into factions. So, Bali was
divided and the divisions remained following independence.
most significant battle was when 96 nationalists led by Lieutenant
Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, were surrounded and totally wiped
out in one day on 20 November 1946 by the Dutch near the village
of Marga in the hills of Tabanan. It is often glorified as another
puputan and called the Puputan Margarana. Ngurah Rai is the only
Balinese to be designated officially as a hero of the Indonesian
Revolution. The airport is called after him.
United Nations expressed disapproval of the Dutch desire to re-conquer
Indonesia and the United States pressured the Netherlands to grant
independence. At the Round Table Conference in The Hague, which
lasted from 23 August to 2 November 1949, the form and conditions
for the transfer of sovereignty to the Government of the Republic
of Indonesia were negotiated.
27 December 1949 the Netherlands recognized Indonesia as an independent
state and agreed to transfer sovereignty. On the fifth anniversary
of the proclamation of Independence, 17 August 1950, the country
was proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia.
Indonesian constitution is founded on the Pancasila principles.
The five principles are: faith in God and the practices of humanity,
nationalism, representative government and social justice and
they are symbolized by a star, a chain, a buffalo head, a banyan
tree and twined sprays of rice and cotton.
Sukarno became the first President of Indonesia. His father was
a Javanese teacher, who taught in North Bali in the 1880s, and
his mother was a Balinese Brahman lady. He was born on 6 June
1901. Mohammad Hatta from Sumatra became prime minister. The regime
is known as the Old Order.
1950 - 1967
had a radiant personality and was a brilliant orator. A handsome,
charismatic leader, he was an engineer and art lover. He spoke
Dutch, English, French, German, Japanese, Javanese, Balinese,
and Sundanese. He learned Arabic in order to study the Koran.
He protested against Dutch rule and spent 13 years in jail or
exiled from Java. When the Japanese invaded, he welcomed them
and became a special adviser. After the war, he resumed the fight
against the Dutch. He married six times. His last wife, Dewi,
who is Japanese, he married when she was 19 and he was 57.
took an intense personal interest in Bali and toured the island
at least twice in 1950 and spoke to large crowds. He built a palace
in Tampaksiring and visited several times a year bringing many
distinguished guests, including Nehru, Ho Chi Minh, Tito and Khrushchev.
It was on a visit in 1955 that Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime
Minister of India, famously described Bali as "the morning
of the world".
period in Bali is marked as one of chronic violence and volatility.
Bali had no strong local state apparatus. For many years Bali
had depended on the Dutch and then the Japanese and they had gone.
There was tremendous poverty, hunger and spiralling inflation.
There were economic crimes. Conflicts along class lines were occurring.
Political parties of the left were becoming popular.
officially became a province on 14 August 1958. Prior to that
there was one province Sunda Kecil comprising Bali, West Nusa
Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. In 1960 the capital was moved
from Singaraja to Denpasar.
the early 1960s there were rat and mouse plagues, insect infestations
and crop failures. It was not an easy time. The island's economy
declined dramatically, so much so that by 1964 central government's
contributions constituted nearly 90 per cent. of Bali's total
revenues. Central government was not having an easy time either.
The economy was out of control. In 1965 inflation had reached
500 per cent. and the price of rice had risen 900 per cent. The
budget deficit had risen to 300 per cent. of government revenues.
economic problems coincided with aggressive national land reform
legislation backed by the left leaning PKI party and the left
leaning President Sukarno and his appointee, Bali's Governor Suteja.
new law, which in Bali was implemented on 1 January 1961, was
that each household should have a maximum of five hectares of
wet rice land and six hectares of dry land in the most densely
populated regions. The state would redistribute holdings in excess
of these limits. Priority should be given to those actually cultivating
the plot in question. Absentee landlords were outlawed. The average
size of landholdings in Bali was small - 89 per cent. were smaller
than two hectares and more than half smaller than half a hectare.
It followed that the legislation was very popular, as most people
would gain. Very few landlords would have to give up their land.
They were mainly members of the leading royal families.
much has been written about this time. The Dark Side of Paradise
by Geoffrey Robinson is the best account so far.
the beginning of the 20th century people walked or if they could
afford it travelled by horseback. In 1917 there were only about
five cars on Bali: two or three in north Bali and two in south
Bali. The King of Ubud had one and so did the King of Karangasem.
numbers began to increase, but not by much. The greatest number
of vehicles in the early 1950s was in Denpasar. In January 1953
there were 1,497 motor vehicles and 1,827 human and animal powered
vehicles in the whole of Bali.
years later Bali has a traffic problem.
was introduced in 1950 to even out Indonesia's large population.
This has meant that there are Balinese communities living outside
Bali. The first migrants were, in fact, 77 residents from Kedu
in Central Java, who were relocated to the sparsely populated
province of Lampung. Critics have said that the real reason for
the policy was to extend Javanese influence. It has caused conflict
with local communities.
is an uneven distribution of people. According to the 2000 statistics,
59 per cent. of the 200 million plus population live in Java,
whereas only 2 per cent. live in Maluku and Irian Jaya, although
those islands account for a quarter of the country's total area.
Agung Eruption, 1963
Agung erupted in early 1963, just behind the Mother Temple, Pura
Besakih. The first major eruption was on 17 March, which coincided
with a huge ceremony, Eka Dasa Rudra, which takes place once every
100 years. It had only just started.
suffering and distress caused by this enormous eruption, killing
more than 2,000 people, was felt throughout the island. The eruption
lasted for six months and resulted in the cancellation of the
ceremony. There had been doubts about the proper timing of it
and certain people said, "I told you so. The Gods are angry".
took more than 62,000 hectares out of production and was followed
by famine. This resulted in severe malnutrition for more than
10,000 people and an exodus of as many as 75,000 people to neighbouring
principalities. The most seriously affected areas were in the
east: Karangasem, Klungkung, Bangli and Gianyar. Refugees crowded
into Denpasar and Singaraja. In 1956 the unemployment rate was
about 14 per cent. in 1963 it was about 30 per cent.
Balinese saw the eruption as a sign of cosmic imbalance and spiritual
impurity and a portent of further disaster. They were right.
woman Anna Mathews and her husband, Denis, were witnesses. He
brought the news to the outside world through the BBC and she
wrote a compelling account of it in The Night of Purnama.
coup d'etat, 30 September 1965
alleged coup, led by General Untung, involved the kidnapping and
execution of six generals of the Army High Command and the establishment
of the Revolutionary Council. The national radio station was seized
and the Presidential Palace was surrounded by a small force led
by junior military officers with communist sympathies. That much
is known. It is usually called the 30 September Movement. It has
been claimed that it was a communist coup and a treacherous plot
against the nation.
the early 1960s the Indonesian Communist Party was the third largest
communist organization in the world. Only the parties in the Soviet
Union and the Peoples' Republic of China were bigger. President
Sukarno was adept at balancing the opposing powers of the communists
General Suharto, later President Suharto, head of the Strategic
Reserve, mobilized the army and put it down the rebellion. He
became the de facto commander of the armed forces.
aftermath led to a massacre in Java and Bali. In less than a year
between 100,000 and a million people were killed. The precise
figures are not known. Some say a realistic figure is between
300,000 and 400,000 people. The worst areas were Bali, Central
Java and East Java. Supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party
(PKI) were killed. Creditors, farmers and rivals were disposed
of. Old scores were settled summarily.
trauma lasted about six months, starting in December 1965, and
most families were affected. It is estimated that 5 per cent.
of the Balinese population (fewer than 2 million at that time)
were killed, that is to say, 80,000 people, but nobody knows the
figures for sure.
CIA described the aftermath as one of the worst mass murders of
the century. In percentage terms the figures are comparable to
the loss of life in Cambodia under Pol Pot over a longer period
and the New Order regime, 1967 - 1998
was put under house arrest and signed over power by a presidential
order known as Supersemar to Suharto on 11 March 1966. Supersemar
is an abbreviation of Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret (Letter of
Instruction of 11th March). Sukarno's 21 years of rule ended and
Suharto's rule of 32 years was about to begin.
technically remained President until Suharto formally became the
next President of Indonesia in 1968 and inaugurated the New Order.
Sukarno was effectively under house arrest until he died in 1970.
ruled mainly by filling the inner-power circle of the New Order
with his close aides in the military, whose loyalty to him had
been sufficiently tested in the past. Decades of oppressions,
inequality and arrogance led to his downfall following the Asian
financial crisis of 1997. The tag-line for his rule was corruption,
collusion and nepotism (KKN). Ironically harto means wealth in
Beach Hotel, 1966
by Sukarno, the first hotel of international quality was opened
in Sanur, financed with the help of Japanese war reparations.
In a strange coincidence the old Bali Hotel in Denpasar had been
built on the site of the Dutch puputan in 1906 and the Bali Beach
Hotel was built precisely on the spot where the Dutch landed prior
to that puputan.
turned out that most tourists found it too international and preferred
to spend their time in more local style, that is to say, in thatched
cottages. Many hotels now build thatched villas. It was also too
tall and a law was passed that future buildings should not exceed
the height of a coconut tree. That law is no longer followed.
Rai International Airport, 1969
1938 an airport was built at Tuban, near Kuta, but it did not
have much impact, as early flights were very expensive. On 1 August
1969 the international airport was opened, flights became cheaper
and the way to mass tourism was clear.
First Five-Year Development Plan, 1969 - 74
tourism concerned the Indonesian Government. The conflict between
preserving traditional culture and meeting the demands of tourists
for security and comfort needed to be considered. With the help
of the World Bank, a French consultancy firm drafted a plan. The
Government was to provide a number of first class hotels in a
425 hectares site in South Bali called Nusa Dua. A hotel management
school was also planned. It all happened and the first hotel opened
1859 van Bloemen Wanders, the Assistant-Resident in north Bali,
reported that half the males and one-fifth or one-sixth of the
females in Buleleng could read and write. The high castes restricted
reading and writing to themselves on the ground that the uninitiated
low castes could go mad if they had contact with the magical potency
of the texts.
of Suharto's successes has been education. There has been national
compulsory attendance at primary school since 1984 and at junior
secondary school since 1994. By 1985 about 85 - 90 per cent. of
Balinese seven to fifteen year olds were attending school.
1920 more than half the students were attending private, community
schools, whereas in 1984-85 the figure was only 1 per cent.
fertility rate for Balinese women between 1967 and 70 was 5.8
the early 1970s a team of public health workers approached the
banjars and the Banjar Family Planning Project was launched with
the goal of two children per couple. The motto is "Two is
1985 the fertility rate had dropped to 2.6 per cent. This success
has drawn worldwide attention.
end for Suharto and the New Order regime, 1998
tide began to turn for Suharto in the early 1990s, but it was
the Asian financial crisis, which started in Thailand in July
1997, that made his reign unsustainable.
wealth of Indonesia disappeared virtually overnight. In June 1997
the rupiah was 2,300 to the US dollar. By early 1998 it was 12,500
(having reached 16,000 at one point). The rupiah fell by almost
80 per cent. from July to early 1998. Suharto called in the IMF.
Students rioted and there were many deaths. A readable eye-witness
account is given by Jeremy Allan in his book Jakarta Jive, A Story
of Survival in a City of Upheaval.
Cuba's Fidel Castro had been in power for longer. Suharto resigned
on 21 May 1998. He was 76.
Habibie, 1998 - 1999
500 member People's Consultative Assembly, the MPR, the Majelis
Permusyawaratan Rakyat, is the heart and highest political body
of the government. It used to meet every five years to elect the
President and Vice-President of Indonesia and it determines overall
guidelines for government policy during the presidential term.
It may meet at any time to address situations affecting the whole
used to be no election if the President vacated office before
the five-year term expired. In that case, the Assembly simply
appointed the Vice-President for the balance of the unexpired
term. And so it was that Dr Bachruddin Jusuf Habibie, the Vice-President,
from Sulawesi, who has some Arab ancestry, automatically became
the third President of Indonesia in 1998.
August 2002 the Constitution was changed to provide for direct
presidential elections through a two-tier ballot. This was intended
to remedy an abuse, perpetrated by Suharto, of filling the MPR
with supporters to create a show of democracy. He was elected
president every five years and his decrees were automatically
rubber-stamped by the MPR. The Constitution was also amended to
abolish the 38 unelected representatives of the army in the MPR.
election was held in 1999.
Wahid, 1999 - 2001
first democratically elected President was Abdurrahman Wahid,
popularly known as Gus Dur. He inherited the title "Gusti".
He, a Muslim cleric, then 59 years old, became President on 21
October 1999. Megawati Soekarnoputri, then 52 years old, was elected
his Vice-President. Neither had any experience of government.
had been chairman for fifteen years of the 30 million strong religious
body called Nahdlatul Ulama or NU. He was also founder of the
National Awakening Party or PKB. The PKB had, in fact, only come
fourth in the earlier general election, whilst Megawati's party,
the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) had
won it (although with only 34 per cent. of the vote). Her party
had the greatest number of seats in the Assembly (153), but the
other parties combined and succeeded in blocking her election
two had a long history together. They played as children. Wahid
was in bad health: he had had three strokes and was clinically
blind. Megawati was in good health but a political novice. Abdurrahman
was born into a distinguished family. His grandfather was the
prominent founder of NU and his father, Wahid Hasyim, served as
the country's first Minister of Religious Affairs under President
Sukarno. Megawati's father is President Sukarno.
People's Consultative Assembly dismissed him on Monday 23 July
2001 following an impeachment process, which alleged corruption,
incompetence and violating the Constitution. It was never pursued
in a court and may have been politically motivated. His Vice-President,
Megawati Soekarnoputri, replaced him, the Islam-orientated political
parties, this time, fully endorsing her appointment.
Haz, who openly said in 1999 that it was against Islam to have
a woman President, was elected Vice-President, with the support
of PDI-P. His party is the United Development Party.
Soekarnoputri, 2001 - 2004
born in Jogjakarta on 23 January 1947, is one-quarter Balinese,
the second child of President Sukarno and his wife Fatmawati.
She was very popular in Bali. A populist leader, her popularity
was largely because of her charisma as the daughter of the first
president. Her party, PDI-P, has a logo: a bull's head on a red
background, a very common sight in Balinese villages.
grandmother and Sukarno's mother, Srimben, was born in the early
1900s, a member of the Banjar Bale Agung clan, the daughter of
a Brahman high priest in Buleleng, North Bali. Her full name was
Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai Srimben. Her duties were very traditional:
praying, weaving, making textiles, dancing, singing Balinese verses
(mekidung) and serving in the community (ngayah).
fate changed dramatically, though, when she met a schoolteacher,
Raden Mas Soekemi Sosrodihardjoe, at elementary school in Singaraja.
He was Javanese and in those days interfaith marriage was strictly
taboo. They eloped and she was immediately banished from family
only lived 100 meters away, but she never entered the family house
again, prayed at the family temple, or took part in religious
ceremonies. One important ceremony is still outstanding and that
is the mepahit ritual. When a Balinese girl marries a man outside
her family, she must carry out the mepahit ceremony, which is
a bidding farewell to the ancestral home and temple. After marriage
the woman belongs to the husband's clan.
having failed to carry out this ceremony, and despite the fact
that she is now dead, has still not been released from her family's
rights and obligations. She has not been cut off spiritually from
her ancestors. A direct descendant, like Megawati herself, could
represent her in the ritual, but so far, this has not happened.
Bambang Yudhoyono, 2004 -
Bambang Yudhoyono became the country's sixth President and first directly elected President on 20 September 2004. He won a run-off election against Megawati. He had been her chief security chief. Jusuf Kalla became his Vice-President.usambang Yudhoyon
to the 2000 census, there are 101,814,435 women in Indonesia,
or 50.4 per cent. of the population. Megawati is the first female
President in Indonesian history. As at December 2001, however,
only 45 of the 500 members of the House of Representatives were
women and only two of the 32-member cabinet.
1 January 2001 the Law on Regional Autonomy gave Second Level
Regions autonomy over various sectors, including mining, industry,
forestry, agriculture, trade and manpower and to pass their own
budgets and be self-sufficient. Bali comprises nine Second Level
Regions, made up of eight kabupatens (or regencies), which are
Badung, Bangli, Buleleng, Gianyar, Jembrana, Karangasem, Klungkung
and Tabanan; and one mayoralty, the city of Denpasar. Central
government has full authority over foreign policy, defence, finance
and court matters.
the past, the Governor, as head of the province and representative
of the central government in the province, had the authority to
decide almost all matters. This is no longer the case. Bali has
been presented with a challenge. Some regions attract more tourists
than others. This means that some regions are richer than others
and so a potential cause of conflict exists.
Free Trade Area
challenge for the whole of Indonesia is the entry into a free
trade area of the six founder members of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN). With effect from 1 January 2002 tariffs
on many manufactured and agricultural products were eliminated
or reduced to 5 per cent. The six founder members, Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, account for
more than 96 per cent. of trade in the region.